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The future for young Donegal footballers lies at home

Shaun Shields with his fiance Andrea Lynch

Shaun Shields with his fiance Andrea Lynch

WITH fewer and fewer players moving over to English academies at the age of 16, the future for young Donegal footballers lies at home according to a Milford man who works as a professional football consultant cross-channel.
Last year, Shaun Shields (31) set up a company called Quorum Sports with former professional footballers John Hartson (Celtic and Arsenal) and Gordon Cowans (Aston Villa). He is responsible for scouting and recruitment and helping young footballers and their families with off-field requirements.
While Donegal legends Packie Bonner (Celtic), Shay Given (Newcastle) and, more recently, Seamus Coleman (Everton) have plied their trade at the top echelons of the professional game, Mr Shields said the League of Ireland is the future launching pad for today’s young stars.
Speaking to the Donegal News during a quick visit home on Wednesday, Mr Shields noted that both Coleman (Sligo Rovers) and James McClean (Derry City) earned their apprenticeships in Ireland’s national league prior to departing our shores.
Indeed, two of Dundalk’s stars last season, namely Daryl Horgan and Andy Boyle, successfully secured contracts at Championship side Preston North End.
“I believe the League of Ireland, which kicked off last weekend, will act as the main development ground for the national side, more so than academies in Britain, as the pathway for players emerging is growing more and more difficult in the UK,” he explained.

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